SALEM, Mass.—The historic city of Salem, Massachusetts, is gearing up for a festive and enchanting holiday season. With an array of joyful events, spirited performances, and delightful activities, there’s no better place to get into the holiday spirit. Salem invites all visitors and residents to partake in the enchanting celebrations throughout the season. Holidays in Historic Salem.
Here are some of the highlighted events for the 2023 holiday season:
Santa’s Arrival and Holiday Tree Lighting
Friday, November 24 at 5:45 pm, Hawthorne Hotel/Salem Common and Lappin Park
A beloved annual tradition, Santa Claus will arrive at the top of the Hawthorne Hotel at 18 Washington Square – with assistance from the Salem Fire Department, of course! Santa’s arrival will be followed by a procession down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall for the annual lighting of Salem’s Holiday Tree at Lappin Park (next to the Bewitched Statue at the intersection of Essex Street and Washington Street). www.salemmainstreets.org
Salem Arts Association Holiday Artists’ Market at Salem Old Town Hall
Saturday, November 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Old Town Hall
Holiday Artists’ Market at Salem Old Town Hall features a festive market with live music and a holiday theme. This year’s event offers a broad collection of creative treasures for yourself, friends, and family. Showcasing a variety of local artisans and crafters offering original fine art, unique gifts, and hand-made housewares to delight yourself or gift to others. www.salemarts.org/
Salem Trolley & The Gallows Hill Theatre Present… “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
November 26 through December 23
Now entering into its 34th Season, this humorous & whimsical interactive performance reanimates Dickens’ timeless seasonal holiday classic. Experience Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a twist. Ride along with Scrooge on the Salem Trolley as the classic tale is brought to life in a completely unexpected way. Shows sell out quickly and seats are limited. https://salemtrolley.com/contact-7.html
Tis’ The Season with History Alive at The House of the Seven Gables
Weekends, December 1 through 3 and December 8 through 10 at 7 p.m., House of the Seven Gables
Join History Alive to experience the Christmastide season from before Christmas was a holiday in America. After premiering in 2021 at the Old Town Hall, this play-with-music moves to the House of the Seven Gables in 2023 to continue to spread the Yuletide cheer. Holidays in Historic Salem https://7gables.org/events/
Cozy & Bright: Christmas Tour of the Daniels House
Daily in December, 1 Daniels Street
Explore the magic of Christmas through one of Salem’s oldest homes. Led by experienced and passionate guides, this interactive tour focuses on the history of Christmas as the holiday evolved over this home’s 356 years in New England. Join us, with warm seasonal teas in hand, amongst the lights and cozy decked halls, on a cheerful and illuminating tour that will leave you feeling festive and bright! Tickets $25 includes seasonal historic tea. www.danielshousesalem.com
The Salem Garden Club Christmas Boutique
Saturday, December 2, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., First Church in Salem
The Boutique features uniquely decorated fresh wreaths, arrangements, swags, boxwood trees, and much more. You’re sure to find that special something to trim your home for the holiday or to find a gift for someone special! www.salemgardenclub.com/
Christmas in Salem Historic House Tour
Friday, December 1, Friday night preview fundraiser, 6:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
Saturday, December 2 & Sunday, December 3, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Salem Common Neighborhood
The Peabody Essex Museum is the sponsor for the Historic Salem’s 2023 Christmas in Salem holiday house tour, offering a candle-lit evening preview on Friday, December 1, and daytime tours on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3. This year’s theme, “An On Common Christmas,” will highlight Federal-style homes around the Salem Common, including PEM’s Andrew-Safford House from 1819, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now in its 44th year, the annual tour has become a Christmas tradition for many residents and friends on the North Shore and is the headlining fundraiser for HSI. Tickets are now available online at www.historicsalem.org.
Holiday Window Contest
Starting Saturday, December 9, in Downtown Salem – Creative Collective Member
Every year, downtown businesses decorate their windows, especially for the holidays. Judges nominated by Salem Main Streets make the rounds to vote on the best windows, and the competition is always fierce! www.salemmainstreets.org/
Winter Solstice Celebration
Saturday, December 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Peabody Essex Museum – Creative Collective Member
Celebrate the arrival of the longest night of the year through an array of nurturing programs. Slow down with a grounding yoga class, engage in a powerful solstice ritual, design a beeswax candle, and enjoy joyous Celtic harp music! For more information, visit www.pem.org
Salem Main Streets Holiday Stroll
Sunday, December 17, Downtown Salem – Creative Collective Member
Salem Main Streets wants to help you with your holiday shopping! Load up on sustenance at one of our many fine downtown breakfast and brunch establishments, then hit the bricks for great finds and specials at local retailers around town, all while serenaded by festive roaming carolers. Keep your eyes peeled for Santa! Follow along online for the latest list of participants and shopping details. www.salemmainstreets.org/
New Year’s Eve LAUNCH!
Sunday, December 31, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Artists’ Row – Creative Collective Member
Come ring in the New Year in downtown Salem! The City of Salem and Salem Main Streets are teaming up to throw a New Year’s Eve party with live music and family-friendly activities. There will be an early countdown promptly at 6 p.m. www.salemmainstreets.org/
Gingerbread Holiday Trolley ride with the Good Witch of Salem
December 9 & 10, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. -Downtown Salem – Creative Collective Member
Join the Good Witch of Salem on a quest to find the Gingerbread Man aboard the Holiday Trolley! The race through downtown Salem will begin at The Good Witch of Salem’s shop with a storytime all about the Gingerbread Man! Attendees will take part and interact with the story through the use of motions, props, and baking tools. After storytime, together we will view and discuss how gingerbread cookies are made. Be on the lookout because one of the adorable Gingerbread Men will come alive and run off into the streets of Salem! Once we spot him, we will board the Holiday Trolley to find that fast little cookie! Keep your eyes peeled while riding the Holiday Trolley…the Gingerbread Man can pop up anywhere along the way!
Frozen Fire Festival
December 26 through January 1, Charlotte Forten Park
Centerpiece for winter entertainment, seasonal shopping, dining, and drinks in the heart of Salem, MA – FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! RAIN OR SHINE. Rent an igloo and make smores with friends, or play some outdoor winter-themed games. https://www.facebook.com/FrozenFireFestival
Parking in municipal lots, garages, and meters will be free on November 23, 24, 25, and 26, and December 22, 23, 24 & 25. Additional shopping, dining, and accommodation information can be found through Destination Salem.
About Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a destination recognized worldwide for its rich history, including the tragic Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the glorious maritime era that left its indelible mark on Salem through architecture, museums, and artifacts, and for its month-long celebration of Halloween. Approximately 1.8 million people visit Salem annually, generating nearly $140 million in tourism spending and supporting 1,000 jobs.
About Destination Salem
As the destination marketing organization for the City of Salem, Destination Salem cooperatively markets Salem as one of Massachusetts’ best destinations for families, couples, and domestic and international travelers who are seeking an authentic New England experience, cultural enrichment, American history, fine dining, unique shopping, and fun. For more information, visit Salem.org.